Football News

What Paul Pogba and Steven Gerrard have in common, according to Man Utd legend Scholes

By Harry Edwards

Published: 16:48, 21 April 2020

Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has compared Paul Pogba to Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, in that he can do “absolutely everything”.

Pogba has often been a target for criticism since returning to United from Juventus in 2016 for a then-world record fee of £89m.

Many feel he has failed to live up to the expectations created by that transfer fee, but he has won an FA Cup, Europa League and League Cup since the move. Elsewhere, with France, he also is a World Cup winner.

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  • Ferdinand, in 2016, said: “Pogba is about finesse, movement, attacking play, dynamism […] In that way he is similar to Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.”
  • That year, Pogba told the Italian press: “Shooting, dribbling, scoring, defending. I want to be like Lampard, but better.”
  • Though critical of the United midfielder’s decision-making, Lampard subsequently said: “Pogba is naturally more talented than I was.”
  • Gerrard himself saw shades of himself in Pogba – for good or bad: “I think if there’s one small, tiny criticism of this player it would be that he goes forward maybe too much […] I had a similar criticism of myself when I played in that position.”
  • While explaining what Pogba could bring to United upon signing him four years ago, Jose Mourinho said: “Lampard, Scholes, Gerrard; they’re the second [midfielder] who sometimes score more goals than the No 10 but defends as a No 6.”

Over the past two seasons, the Frenchman has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford. Real Madrid are most commonly touted as a potential destination and these links have increased over the 2019/20 campaign, much of which Pogba missed due to injury. Overall, he managed just eight appearances across all competitions, his last coming on Boxing Day 2019.

Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, and United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have also engaged in a war of words concerning the 27-year-old’s future.

While some United fans would be content to see Pogba leave in the next transfer window, Scholes – who did play with the Frenchman at Old Trafford – believes there is more for the midfielder to give.

Scholes went on to compare Pogba to former Liverpool captain Gerrard, believing him to have a similar skillset.

“I played a bit with Paul and everyone knows the talent he’s got,” Scholes told United’s official podcast.

“He’s been brilliant for Juventus, brilliant for France in the World Cup and really good at times here as well.

“He can do everything as a midfield player and you’d probably liken him to Steven Gerrard with the pace, the power, the skill. He can do absolutely everything.”

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During a 17-year playing career in Liverpool’s first team, Gerrard made a name for himself as one of the best midfielders in Premier League history – as well as one of the division’s greatest captains.

In 504 Premier League appearances, Gerrard scored 120 goals and added 92 assists. Pogba, in comparison, has 24 goals and 25 assists in 102 Premier League games so far.

Although he would not lift the title, going closest in 2008/09 and 2013/14, Gerrard did inspire Liverpool to a Champions League triumph in 2005, adding to a Uefa Cup win, two FA Cups and three League Cups.